The Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) in the state of Victoria has been the frontrunner of Smart Specialisation in Australia. The implementation of Smart Specialisation strategy (S3) in Gippsland, the territory in which the Latrobe Valley is located, was driven by the closure of the Hazelwood coalmine and electricity generation station in the Valley in 2017.
The Victorian Government established the LVA to support workers and families affected immediately by layoffs and to stimulate short-term demand in the Latrobe Valley. Its longer-term mission was to restructure the regional economy and develop sustainable energy sources in the territory in which the Valley is located.
In September 2017, the LVA took a decision to develop Smart Specialisation Strategy for Gippsland (GS3) to provide the strategic framework for the longer-term renewal of the regional economy. GS3 had a systemic and sustainable approach to diversifying and revitalising the regional economy and its social and cultural foundations.
The implementation of S3 was framed by the challenge of developing renewable energy sources that would meet South Eastern Australia’s energy needs and by the social imperative of “just transition” for individuals, families and communities.
The first phase of GS3 (2018-2020) engaged over 3000 people and organisations. The process was instrumental for strengthening the regional innovation system in Gippsland. GS3 contributed to building innovation partnerships around several themes such as food and fibre, energy, health and wellbeing, and the tourist sector.